Thursday, October 9, 2008

Plein Air painting

Plein air painting simply means painting a scene outdoors, from life. Sounds nice, but the reality is often a bit grittier - bugs, either biting you, buzzing in your face, or, worse, landing in the wet painting and sticking there, wind, blowing your canvas or panel off the easel, or knocking over your supplies, sunburn, glare, rain, or, this time of year, freezing cold hands and feet. But there is nothing like it. Painting on location brings a totally different feel to the work... you hear the sounds, smell the smells, feel the weather, and it is a "whole body experience". I would rather be outside painting than working in the studio any day. Even in bad weather!
This little view is from a cow pasture on a friend's farm. And when I say "cow pasture" I mean it. It was an exercise in avoidance to keep from stepping on the cow patties, and, since I had my dog with me, to keep an eye on him to keep from rolling in them.. one of his favorite things to do.
The weather that day was clear, but cold, and the air was crisp and dry. I hope I captured that feeling with the rather cold light and fall colors beginning to peak.
The mountain is all muted reds and golds now, with the dark blue/green of the pines.. in about a week, the color will start to fade. And that is actually my favorite time to paint - bare trees create a sort of purplish gray color, interspersed with the russets andburnt orange shades of the oaks which hold their leaves, and you have a natural color compliment situation going on that works very well... It'll come soon enough. We've had hard frost and soon we'll be raking all those leaves!

Oh, and I thought I had managed to keep Tucker out of the cow manure, but after I brought him home, Steve said, "Why is the side of Tucker's neck all crusty?"... eeeuuuu.